"Today is the day that everything will finally get better." Read, review, rate and feel my love. :P
Yesterday was horrible. I might even go as far as to say that it was worse than the day that we lost our parents; no, I will go as far as to say that was worse than that horrendous day that snatched away the guidance that both Mikes and I still require. It was so much worse than that. When our parents died I could at least say that I’d done nothing wrong, that I wasn’t at fault, but yesterday everything was my fault. I held him whilst he cried, felt all of the tiny bones through his fragile veil of pale skin, counted the cuts on his drenched face and realised just how badly I’ve messed up; just how far over the edge I have pushed him. But then he came out to me, made me prouder than ever that I have such a great little brother because he was brave enough to tell me about his sexuality even after I’ve been such a dick with him. He came out to me and then he just kind of faded into sleep’s sweet surrealism, leaving me to carry him up to his bedroom. But even that didn’t stop yesterday from being the worse day of my life; the day that I learnt the awful agony that my baby brother endures every day really is becoming too much for him to cope with.
But still, there’s more. I know that there is so much more that he has yet to tell me. But I’ll always be here to listen. I think he knows that now. I hope he does.
Which is why today feels so much better than yesterday; like the first day of the summer holidays after a hellish day at school must feel like to kids like Mikey. Today I think that we’ve made a lot of progress, the both of us together as brothers. Today I woke him up myself instead of leaving it to the cold, clinical bleeps of his alarm clock; today I smiled at him as he left instead of just nodding a farewell whilst I struggle with my own petty problems, such as whether there’s enough time for a shower or not; today I made him a lunch to take instead of leaving it down to him to get food because I know that he just won’t. I made sure that I made his favourite sandwiches, cheese and marmite, the sort that I used to make him all the time when he was little and needed cheering up.
Today feels like a ray of light upon a withering rose; today is the first day of me being Mikey’s big brother again, of me making everything better like I always should have been.
It kind of feels like wearing a pair of shoes that you love, but are just too small and worn to be comfortable yet you feel you have to wear them because you’ve only just got them back from the depths of a crowded closet. It feels pinchingly painful because I’ve let him down, but it also feels empowering and enriching to finally be doing something right for the kid; to be loving my little brother and being loved back as his big brother. But still, he’s my baby brother, the one who was made to be my precious jewel to defend like a magpie and I’ve let life steal him away from the safety of my brotherly embrace; I’ve let him get beaten up and bloodied as though he’s as worthless as my stupidity has allowed him to believe; I’ve let him become so frightened and anxious that he isn’t even the playful little kid that I grew up with anymore, that playful little kid doesn’t even shine in the back of Mikey’s eyes like he did just a few months ago; I’ve let him fade into a regretful shade of nothingness and I’ve let him starve himself to point of looking emaciated.
That really got me the most, got me like a butcher’s hook puncturing the flesh of some dead carcass. He wasn’t eating, knew that he wasn’t, knew that something wasn’t right and he didn’t tell me. Didn’t tell me that he’s basically anorexic.
Anorexic. I think that, as much as it excruciates my blackened soul, describes my baby brother horribly well. Too well. He’s starved himself in every way that a person can starve; he’s starved of food, of care, of attention, of love, of happiness, of confidence, of everything that I should be giving him in excess. Everything that I haven’t been giving him any of, but today that’s changed.
Today everything’s looking better.
He even smiled at me a little bit when I gave him his lunch. Not a full, blinding smile that I used to associate with him instantly, it was a small, meek one that was more thankful for his lunch than genuinely happy, but it was still a smile; therefore I must be starting to finally do something right. Right?
I really am trying this time.
Which is why I’m currently walking home instead of standing behind the counter at Starbucks; I begged my boss to let me have the afternoon off as unpaid leave so that I can be waiting for Mikes when he gets in from school. I just hope and pray that when he gets in he’ll be smiling, chattering to me about some joke that the class clown made like he deserves to be, even though I know for a fact that I’ll be lucky if he doesn’t come home shaking, bloody, bruised. He usually does, usually just fucks off to his room to do whatever it is that lonely, depressed sixteen-year-olds do in their spare time.
But not today.
Today I’m going to ask him how his day was, about what lessons he had and what things he learnt, about what things the kids shouted at him today. Because I know that there’ll be something, even if it was just a derogatory snicker at Mikes answering a question in class, there is always something. They just never leave him alone and I guess I was trying to tell myself that Mikey’s too smart to let it get to him, that if it was he would ask for help; but now I know how unwanted and worthless he feels I’m going to do what I should have been doing the whole time. I’m going to do what it took my wonderful Frankie to make me realise I wasn’t doing even though it’s the most vital thing in the world. Today, when he gets home, no matter what condition he’s in, I am going to be there for him. I am going to be his big brother.
I can see the house now, the house that hasn’t been Mikey’s home for far too long because I haven’t made it feel like his home, and I can’t help but smile to myself in contentment.
Today is the day that everything will finally get better. For me. For him. For us.
I can remember coming home from the hospital with Mikes after watching him melt into the fire that was burning his eyes, a fire that was ignited by the cruel image of our mother’s crushed corpse. The only way for me to get him home that night was to wait for him to fall asleep on against the wall of the waiting room, wait until he was too out of it to realise that he was being taken away from the building that housed our parents’ dead bodies, and then carry him to the car whilst fighting off an urge to scream in the agony that missing out on my usual evening hit was causing to drill through my head. I drove us home, tears trailing down my cheeks to make symmetrical patterns that reflected the dried red streaks on my brother’s face, and then I just sat in the car as though waiting for an angel to descend to tell me what to do. I’d felt so helpless, so unsure of what the hell I was supposed to do with my addictions; with my grief; with my baby brother. A baby brother that had seen something tragically disturbing enough to shock him into silence. When he’d woken up, my eyes gazing intently at him in readiness for whatever the poor kid could possibly do, he did something hauntingly calm but with such a look in his eyes that I’ll be fortunate if I ever do manage to forget it; he just undid his seatbelt, got out of the car and went inside. And that was it. Didn’t scream or cry or attack me like I’ve seen other people do when reacting to grief, especially kids, he just went upstairs and locked himself in his bedroom, leaving me sat nervously outside his door. That’s when he cried. Cried without me. But he did more than just cry; he started smashing stuff up, tearing his posters down, going about erasing any sing that the room was his, was his own personal haven. But I just sat there listening helplessly, not knowing how to deal with my loss as well as his. I sat there and did nothing. And I think that’s when I stopped being what Mikes wanted me to be, when I started letting everyone who ever meant anything to me down even though I was just trying my best.
But today I’m going to rectify that because today has just got one of those atmospheres about it; it started well, it’ll get better and then it will end in the best way imaginable. The best way imaginable being my brother and I watching the horror movie I rented for us on the way home, him curling up to me like he used to and then us laughing at how fake the blood is. That’s what I, as his big brother, have planned and I think that it’ll work; that it’ll make him smile and feel like the little brother I drove away. We used to have movie nights all the time, I just stopped being able to find the time and motivation to keep them up; he just stopped trusting me to keep him safe from all of the onscreen monsters, to reassure him that all of the blood really was fake.
Maybe this wasn’t the best idea that I’ve ever had. What if he freaks out at the blood, what if it reminds him a little too much of Friday night?
Then I’ll know that he still needs help with it and I’ll extend that hand of help that I’ve been snatching away from him for far too long. I never meant to make him feel like he couldn’t ask for my help, of course I fucking didn’t, I just stopped making it clear to him that he could ask for it because I was moronic enough to take his trust for granted. Trust that slipped away from me long before the events of Friday night, maybe even before I became his guardian. I just need him to tell me what happened to us, no matter how painful it is for the both of us to hear.
I won’t force it out of him though, not whilst today is going so well, just make it obvious that I know he’s hiding something and can tell me because I’ll never stop loving him; never stop being his big brother; never beat him up or laugh at him like the kids at school. What the fuck did I do to allow his mind to conjure such an inaccurate thought?
I abandoned him when he needed me the most; I stopped treating him like my brother, like my equal; I got frustrated at him and I yelled. All things that I loathe myself for like a convicted criminal hates his overpaid lawyer, but things that I’m finally starting to understand and fix. Just like his small smile this morning can prove. I’m really relieved, even more so than a combusting man jumping into a river, I thought that this was going to be a hell of a lot harder. Don’t get me wrong, this has been far from pleasant but I had visions of things being so much worse. I think that they probably would have been if Frankie hadn’t have intervened.
Frankie; I think that he may just be the Second Coming. He really has saved Mikes, just by taking the time and thought to be his friend, something that no one else seems to have the decency to do. Frank rescued Mikey in every plausible way; physically, mentally, emotionally. And I want to give him my life, my heart, my soul, my mind, my body, everything for it. It hurts that it wasn’t me that Mikes opened up to first, frustrates me completely that Frank got further in hours than I have in months, but I can’t act like that’s not my fault.
It is. Entirely.
But today’s different. Today everything is healing over and repairing itself. Today Mikey and I are brothers.
I cross the last road that I need to in order reach the house that was once a home and soon will be again, a fond haze filling my chest at the memory of teaching Mikey to ride his bike along this road. He’d wanted Dad to teach him but Dad was at work, so I valiantly offered my services as his big brother to teach him all that I know about riding fast and flashily. Or at least, I thought my riding was flashy. Perhaps it was, but the second I got out on the road with Mikes trailing excitedly behind me in his Sonic the Hedgehog helmet, pulling his electric blue two-wheeler behind him, all confidence I’d had in my skills disappeared and were instantaneously replaced with a desire to get Mikes riding without him falling off or getting hurt in the process. He trusted me to teach him; I refused to let my little bro down! So, ever so patiently, I helped him onto his bike and started to push him along, all the while encouraging him to peddle with all of his might. I didn’t want to let go of the bike, didn’t want him to crash and end up all teary, all cut up and bloody. But when I saw his eager smile I knew that I had to, had to let him go and try out what I’d taught him. And he was absolutely fine, was racing circles around me in no time. I was so proud that when he finally decided he’d practiced enough for one day, I scooped him up into my arms and swung him around like he was on a carousel; beaming at him and laughing at his puppy-like face, all bright eyes and huge grin, tongue sticking out a little in enjoyment.
That was when he was six. Ten years ago, a whole decade. I know that ten years is a long time and that time will change everything no matter what you do; but I wish that time hadn’t changed him, changed us, changed everything that we once had and loved. But today I’m going to turn back the clock, reclaim the things that have disappeared over those ten years and use them to replace all of the pain that he’s picked up.
I’m walking up the drive now, a definite grin on my face because, today, me and Mikes are brothers again.
Because today we can start to live like we used to.
Everything’s good again and even if it isn’t, I’m going to let Mikey know that he can ask for my help to make it good. Because that’s what a big brother should do. Not what a father or a guardian should do; but a good, loving, caring big brother who wants nothing more than the happiness of his baby brother. Because that’s exactly what I am; exactly what Mikey wants me to be; exactly what Frank told me to be.
I get to the door and reach in my pocket for the rusty old keys, keys that used to live in my father’s pocket. Just as I’m about to go through the door, ready to order Mikey’s favourite pizza for him so that he’ll have a nice surprise when he gets in to go with our movie night and no excuse not to eat, but my cell phone starts blaring out the opening screeches of Slipknot’s Psychosocial.
But not even the interruption of a phone call can put my mood on a downer.
“Good afternoon, are you Mr Way?” A clinical sounding woman drawls boredly down the phone.
A woman that I don’t know. A woman that, for some reason, scares me.
“Yes. Who is this?”
“This is Belleville Hospital paediatric intensive care unit. Are you Mikey Way’s legal guardian?”
Oh God. No. Please no. I can’t lose him; he’s my baby brother. Just a baby, too young and innocent and kind and amazing to get hurt bad enough to be in an intensive care unit.
“There’s been an accident. We need you to come as soon as possible.”
Fuck you, Fate. How could you let this happen?
My baby brother needs me; needs his big brother. And I’m going to be there for him.
What sort of big brother would I be if I wasn’t?
A/N: Sorry that this is kinda short, but thanks for reading and I hope that you liked it. Thanks to anyone who has reviewed any of the previous chapters; I am very grateful that you can take the time to let me know what you think, it really does mean a lot! Thank you very much for reading and please review! :)